A statue of a walrus has a Covid mask draped over its face.

The Courage To Continue in the Face of Covid-19

While millions of Americans across the country face unemployment and uncertainty in the face of rising Coronavirus cases and a struggling economy, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium stands tall with the unwavering support of The Zoo Society. Together, the two entities co-exist supporting each other, working side-by-side to ensure the all the beloved animals who call Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium home, will have a home no matter what the future brings.

“We will either find a way or make one.”

-Hannibal (247-182 BC), Carthaginian General


According to the Employment Security Department, employment in Washington plummeted when its economy lost more than 527,000 jobs in April and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April increased from 5.1 to 15.4 percent causing the unemployment rate to soar (ESD, 2020).

In the midst of Covid-19 chaos, as unemployment began to surge toward record breaking numbers, The Zoo Society waded in deep to become a beacon of hope to the zoo’s beloved animal friends and their incredibly essential keepers.

The Point Defiance Zoological Society stepped in to help the zoo, making twenty-five essential zoo staff members employees of the society to help keep the keepers so they could keep keeping on for the animals that depend on them every day for their daily needs and interactions.


Here at the Zoo, we understand that heroes come in all sizes, from all backgrounds and they come together when there is a crisis to help save the day. You have seen our heroes – the keepers – who tirelessly take care of the animals at the Zoo providing entertainment and enrichment every single day.

While the zoo has been closed to visitors for the last couple of months, to all of the animals and sea creatures that call it home, it’s still been a happening place – it’s just a little quieter than usual.

Since the first week of April, Staff members of The Zoo Society have been providing lunches and individually wrapped snacks to keepers and other essential zoo workers. These lunches have been available to all on-grounds staff working at the Zoo once a week, and will continue to be provided every two weeks through “opening”, while grab and go snacks like granola bars, cookies, candy bars, etc. are provided to the areas and replenished as needed. 

These lunches and snacks have been instrumental in keeping our keepers happy and energized as they continue to do their important work.

“Keeping the Zoo and its keepers happy is an important part of how The Zoo Society supports the Zoo. The staff have been so appreciative of the support we have been providing them and are always incredibly grateful – making it easy to support them in any way we can.”

– Lisa Johnson, Senior Development Director


Incoming! Friends of the zoo near and wide have partnered with The Zoo Society to help ensure onsite zoo keepers and other essential zoo staff members are kept fed and happy.

Central Coop, Table 47, and others have been partnering with the Society to help feed those keepers.

Thank you so much being incredible supporters of the Society and PDZA – support like yours is crucial to the work we do and we value our relationships with other community members and businesses immensely.

We’re all in this together, and together we will all get through this.


“After 93 days our closure clock has stopped ticking, and that is a very good thing.”

– Alan Varsik

Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium & Northwest Trek Wildlife Park Zoological & Environmental Education Department

In a time, when bad news seems to rain down on us constantly about businesses closing their doors, The Zoo Society remains standing tall and still supporting the zoo our community loves so completely.

As the world continues to say goodbye to the way of life it used to know, The Zoo Society ushers in the new normal with a smile and confidence the zoo and surrounding community has come to count on.